Exploring a cross-disciplinary research initiative with remote access laboratories: robot RAL-ly as a stimulus for consideration of engineering pathway

Maxwell, Andrew and Noble, Karen and Kist, Alexander A. and Fogarty, Roderick and Gibbings, Peter and Midgley, Warren (2011) Exploring a cross-disciplinary research initiative with remote access laboratories: robot RAL-ly as a stimulus for consideration of engineering pathway. In: AaeE 2011: Developing Engineers for Social Justice: Community Involvement, Ethics & Sustainability, 5–7 Dec 2011, Fremantle, Australia.

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A well-established project exists within the Faculty of Engineering and Surveying at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), where students are provided remote access to video-supported laboratory experimentation so as to actively engage in contextual action-orientated learning. In this paper we describe a project in which Remote Access Laboratory (RAL) technology developed for university engineering academics at USQ was expanded to explore the cross-disciplinary application of the system. A team of academics from USQ’s Faculty of Education joined the existing RAL technology team from the Faculty of Engineering and Surveying to develop a workshop for primary school children. The children were aged between seven and twelve, and included both boys and girls. This project aimed at providing a stimulus for these children to engage in Engineering-inspired activities so as to promote this as a possible pathway for further study. At the end of the workshop, the children participated in a co-constructed focus group discussion. A thematic analysis of this focus group recording indicates that the remote manipulation of real objects provides children in this age-group with opportunities for rich learning experiences. The initial perspectives of academics were also explored through critical reflection on the program’s design and delivery and a thematic analysis was performed. The paper concludes that, regardless of access and mode of study or discipline background, high quality interactions, with peers and academic staff in an informal context, are vital to the building of enhanced capacity for rich learning experiences and motivation for further experimentation.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Authors retain copyright. Paper 200.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - No Department
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2012 05:57
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2017 00:07
Uncontrolled Keywords: Remote Access Laboratories; engineering
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1399 Other Education > 139999 Education not elsewhere classified
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
09 Engineering > 0999 Other Engineering > 099999 Engineering not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970109 Expanding Knowledge in Engineering
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/20452

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